Whether you have kids or don’t have kids — by choice or by circumstance — shapes your life in countless ways. One path isn’t necessarily better than the other, but differences between the two can create friction at times.
We previously asked HuffPost readers without kids to reveal the parent behaviors that really get under their skin, from acting like they have a “monopoly on fatigue or stress,” to not making an effort to keep their kids quiet in restaurants and other public spaces. (You can read the rest of the responses here.)
Recently, we posed the same question to parents, asking them what non-parents do that frustrates them the most. Read on to see what they had to say.
When they compare being a pet owner to raising a kid.
“I adored my dog growing up and I adore my cat now, but neither compares to raising my son.” — Naomi R.
“I’m pretty sure if you just left your kid in the house with a bowl of water and food while you go out for the day, the Department of Children, Youth and Families will be yanking your kids away from you while Fido is perfectly fine. Not the same at all.” — Jessica M.
When they say, ‘If I had kids, I would never…’
“Like, ‘If I had kids, I would never let them have screens.’ Whole different ball game when you actually have kids. Everyone is the perfect parent until they’re actually a parent!” — Jennifer H.
When they tell you to ‘just get a babysitter.’
“Saying ‘just get a babysitter’ as if it’s always that easy, or as if I just immediately want to spend less time with my kids for said occasion.” — Dani D.
″‘Can’t you just get a sitter?’ Um, no, I can’t just go to a random stranger and ask them on short notice to watch my kids, nor would I trust that situation. Sitters are hard to find and not cheap, so do I really need to go?” — Nicole D.
Or when they tell you to, ‘just bring your kid with you’ to an event or outing.
“That may seem easy but there are so many factors as to why it isn’t when you actually have kids.” — Betina F.
When they make comments about what’s on — or not on — your kid’s plate.
“I get frustrated when people say, ‘They eat what you eat! If they’re hungry enough, they’ll eat it!’ This may be true for some kids, but my neuro-spicy kiddo will absolutely starve himself.” — Ashlee W.
“When they say, ‘My kid will never eat nuggets and mac and cheese. They’ll have a well-developed palate.’ Welp, not all parents have time for developing and preparing restaurant quality menus. Also, let’s just let kids be kids.” — Laura M.
Or when they question how you’re feeding your baby.
“Suggesting to an exclusively breastfeeding mom who is reluctant to leave her child for the night, ‘Why don’t you just leave them formula?’” — Lisa G.
“Telling a formula-fed baby’s parents, ‘Why aren’t you breastfeeding?’” — Laura M.
“You have no idea why I’m not breastfeeding and you have no idea what is in that bottle. It could be breastmilk and I’m not comfortable in public, or I can only make two bottles worth a day and supplement, or tried and couldn’t. Who the heck knows and it isn’t their business.” — Nicole D.
When they expect your undivided attention.
“They tend to forget that parents with young children cannot have a long conversation. Then get frustrated or upset that the parent must tend to the kids.” — Kay F.
Or they give you a hard time for not being as punctual as you used to be.
“Comments like, ‘Ever since becoming parents, they are always late!’” — Erika S.
When they’re oblivious to your financial situation.
“What do you mean you can’t afford to travel internationally every year?” — Rachel M.
When they change plans at the last minute.
“I am not just arranging myself, I have to get a sitter. Stick to the plan or I’m not coming.” — Sarah P.
When they tell you how to discipline your kids.
“That spanking is the way to disciplining your kid. Or if your kid doesn’t eat their food, then starve them.” — Kathy L.
When they make snap judgments about your parenting decisions.
“Just simply having any opinion or commentary on parenting at all. Making a five-second snap assumption about a situation without ANY knowledge of history or context or what the little turd has been doing aaaallllll morning leading up to this moment in the grocery store, Karen.” — Tiffany G.